How much does the royal family actually cost the taxpayer?

The Royal Family

The Queen’s close family are the ones responsible for undertaking royal duties, Prince Phillip her children; Charles, Ann, Andrew and Edward. Her grandchildren – William, Harry, Peter, Zara, Beatrice, Eugenie, Louise and James, and their spouses as well as the Queen’s cousins also undertake official royal duties.

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In the financial year 2018/19 the royal family undertook over 3,200 official engagements across the UK and overseas, according to the Royal website.

The living costs of the members of the royal family who carry out official duties, are usually met through income from the Duchy of Lancaster, other costs are met through the Sovereign Grant.

Duchy of Lancaster

The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of Queen Elizabeth II, the British Sovereign, it comprises land holdings and other assets. The revenue profits of the Duchy of Lancaster are presented to the Sovereign annually and form part of the Privy Purse, providing income for the official and private expenses of the monarch.

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Sovereign Grant

The Sovereign Grant pays towards travel, communications and the maintenance of royal palaces. The money lets the Queen and other members of the family carry out official duties with the biggest outlay being security.

The Sovereign Grant is funded by the Treasury and this is where taxpayer’s money comes in. In 2018/19 it was worth £82.2m, with around 15% of the income originating from the profits of the Crown Estate. If there is any unused money at the end of the year, it is moved into a reserve fund, which is also used to help pay for the upkeep of the palaces.

The Government pays out £47m from the Sovereign Grant for major events, for attending official duties, etc., but not the £70m for security. It has been estimated that the cost of royal security to the taxpayer per year is £106 million. Security such as close protection London which companies like can provide.

In 2019 the Royal Family incurred a £67 million bill paid for by the UK taxpayer, which roughly translates as 69 pence per person.

It’s not all spending though; the Royal family also bring in money through tourism, and as one of the country’s biggest landowners, through the Crown Estate. In 2017 the monarchy contributed £1.8 billion to the UK economy.